Objectives: To determine what structures fluoresce and to what extent in normal colon and colonic adenomas to fully exploit laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy as a tool for the diagnosis of dysplasia at endoscopy.
Methods: Unstained frozen sections of normal colon and colonic adenomas were studied by fluorescence microscopy under 351-364-nm argon ion laser excitation. Tissue fluorescence was observed and compared to morphology in serial sections stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), Movat pentachrome, mucicarmine, and oil red O.
Results: In normal colon, fluorescence correlated morphologically with connective tissue fibers (principally collagen) in all layers of the bowel wall and with cytoplasmic granules within eosinophils present between the crypts in the lamina propria of the mucosa. Fluorescence of absorptive cells in normal crypts was very faint, and Goblet cells did not fluoresce. However, marked fluorescence was observed in the cytoplasms of dysplastic epithelial cells in the crypts of colonic adenomas. Fewer fluorescent connective tissue fibers were present in the lamina propria of colonic adenomas resulting in decreased fluorescence intensity as compared to that of normal colon. Fluorescent eosinophil granules were present in larger numbers in adenomas as compared with normal colon.
Conclusion: Laser-induced fluorescence in normal colon and colonic adenomas correlates with morphology. Previous reported differences in laser-induced fluorescence emission spectra of normal colon and colonic adenomas obtained in vitro and in vivo may be due to differences in the cytoplasmic fluorescence between the dysplastic epithelium in colonic adenomas and normal colonic epithelium. Laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy may be useful in studying other forms of epithelial dysplasia such as that which occurs in ulcerative colitis.